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Congratulations Wilmington University Class of 2013!

Amid the joyful laughter, warm embraces and enthusiastic fist-pumping, another fine class of 1,180 Wilmington University graduates accepted their diplomas at Winter Commencement on Sunday, January 27, 2013, at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Delaware.

Due to the size of the graduating class, three full ceremonies celebrated Wilmington University's Class of 2013 with presentations of academic awards, Honor Society nominations and stories of personal triumph within all six colleges. University President Dr. Jack Varsalona gave a warm welcome and heartfelt speech to the graduates at each ceremony, commending them on their hard work and dedication in earning their degrees.

“The university is recognized nationally for its academic rigor and we give away nothing. You had to earn it all,” Varsalona said. “You are men and women who have demonstrated great courage, intelligence and perseverance to reach this dream, and you know the value of downright hard work.

“We are so proud that the University is now part of your lives and part of your history,” he declared.

The graduating class comprised a remarkably diverse group of people. Dr. Jim Wilson, Vice President of Academic Affairs, informed the audience that the youngest person graduating on Sunday was 20; the “most mature” was 72. Eighty-one graduates had relatives who currently or previously attended Wilmington University.

Each ceremony featured a student speaker who exemplified the University's mission and message. All of the speakers held down full-time jobs and participated in community service while pursuing their degrees. Donna Griggs works as a Project Manager for the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups in Philadelphia; Scott Gray is a Coast Guard veteran and communications officer for the Delaware State Police; Eileen Caraker works for the Gloucester County, N.J., Prosecutor's Office as a Forensic Nurse Coordinator.

With her family in the audience, watching from the front row, Eileen Caraker stepped to the podium on the commencement stage and told her story as the speaker for the first ceremony of the day. A few minutes later, she crossed the stage to accept her Master's Degree in Nursing Education.

“That's my wife,” Bill Caraker said, beaming with pride.

Video footage of Sunday's ceremonies can be found at http://new.livestream.com/wilmu68/20130127-Graduation.

About Wilmington University

Wilmington University is a private, nonprofit university committed to providing flexible, career-oriented traditional and online undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs and offering small class sizes, individualized attention and affordable tuition. For more information, contact Wilmington University at 302-356-INFO (4636), via email at infocenter@wilmu.edu or visit our web site at www.wilmu.edu

Published: Monday, January 28, 2013 - New Castle, DE